Inspectioneering Journal

Reducing Plant Asset Losses and Environmental Incidents (Part 1)

By Roy Schuyler at DuPont DeNemours, Inc. This article appears in the July/August 1998 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

A couple of all too typical management reaction scenarios when it comes to plant injuries, environmental releases, and maintenance costs:

“Good” Years

Employees praised for “outstanding performance”.

“Bad” Years

Employees exhorted, “Get serious. Do a better job next year.” Finger pointing ensues (aka the “blame game”). Operations blames maintenance. Maintenance blames technical services, etc., etc.

The above are exhibited in reactive corporate cultures and are examples of what noted psychologist, Eric Fromm, termed “irrational authority.” This is especially true where management has no real idea or plan for improving the situation, except to say, “things will get better.” How can one do what has always been done and rationally expect a different result? Upon further examination, this culture yields consequences that vary over the years, up and down, within very predictable, statistical limits ergo, nothing is really changing.

Regulatory, civic, and competitive pressures require we change to a proactive, rather than a reactive, culture or environment with a supportive infrastructure. The concurrent evolution of cultural and infrastructural change relies upon effective leadership, communication, and commitment (both philosophically and financially) to create an environment which not only promotes but supports/facilitates (no mixed signals) “healthy” progress, that can be measured.

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